The Tapestry Artist Urban Jupena

Urban Jupena is an American artist. At the Philadelphia College (now University) of Art he was attracted to weaving and fiber art. After that he attended Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he received his MFA in 1970. Working under Robert Kidd, he was involved into the commission fiber art for homes and public spaces.

Since 1972 Urban teaches weaving and fabric printing and dyeing at Wayne State University. His goal is to expose his students to the fiber arts and to ignite in them a commitment to their work.

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Urban says, “I have always thought that the people of Detroit were fortunate to have Saarinen’s architectural wonder, the complex of schools and museums known as “Cranbrook,” in the area. Those familiar with Cranbrook and its history understand that at the same time these buildings were being built, Saarinen chose and commissioned artists to design and make the furniture, rugs, wall hangings and other art objects that would complement the architecture”.

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He has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally, but  he prefers working on commission with individuals. Public commissions expose one to many people, and he enjoys the challenge. He worked in a collaborative way with his clients to produce fiber work that has become an integral part of their environment.

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Urban’s home in Pinckney, Michigan is an example of how one lives with fiber art and art in general. His house is a showroom. “I enjoy sharing it with people who appreciate a creative environment. We opened the house as a bed and breakfast in 1990 and have enjoyed the diversity of our many guests”.

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